Did you watch the wedding? Yep, in here it was on everywhere. My local Tesco had a display of the royal wedding stuff from tea mugs to grocery bags, and then couple of days before the wedding when they had clearly sold all the memorabilia they made this huge display in front of the entry with Union Jack pennants, strawberries, sparkling wine, BBQ stuff, disposable grills etc. Basically, everything you need and should have to celebrate the happy couple. On the day, I had a nail appointment at 12 ‘o clock and I had booked that 3 weeks ago, not realizing that it’s on the wedding day. I went to the nail salon and there they were watching the royal wedding via iPad and crying. Oh my, I thought but sat down and this lady did my nails while watching the wedding. I enjoyed it, it was fun to interact with the locals while going through the wedding which obviously was important to them and I felt I bit of jealously towards them and their royal family and its traditions. I spent most of my Saturday in the city and I noticed that almost every shop’s windows had congratulations to the happy couple or they had decorated their shop windows with red, white and blue. They also had these block party arranged for the occasion and I thought that was just brilliant. I got 2 requests to bring home some Harry and Megan memorabilia, something with their faces but unfortunately haven’t found any, and I’m afraid they might have sold out. I only wish I would have known this beforehand and I would most definitely have gotten them.
Couple of things I have noticed while being here, is how people talk to one another. I knew that the Brits were polite and that they have good manners, but it has nice to notice that it’s true. I wish us Finns could be as polite as the Brits. For example, I think I have heard people say my name more times than my entire life; “Good morning, Netta!” “How was your weekend, Netta?” “Is everything alright, Netta?” “Netta, how are you doing?” “See you tomorrow, Netta?” “Are you alright, Netta?”. Well I think you get the point. For me, this is very weird. I have been trying to be polite, as I’m leaving from work I say to my coworker; “Bye, see you tomorrow!” And I feel very proud, but then she says “Goodbye, Netta, see you tomorrow, have a nice afternoon!” And I’m like, damn, I still couldn’t be as polite as these people. Of course, there is the thing where I don’t know everyone’s names, but I do know some of them and it still feels weird using people’s names.
Before I finish this week’s blog, I must say that so far, I have enjoyed being here, it has reaffirmed me the fact that one day I wish to live somewhere else, and hopefully I get to do that for more than 2 months. The only thing it requires is my husband and my dogs. I don’t, and I won’t regret this journey I took upon, but what I do know now that it’s not just my life, it’s our life and there’s no point going through it without my family. So, I must doff the hat to those who lead this kind of lifestyle where the other half is working abroad and the other is waiting home with possible kids. I couldn’t do it in a long run, I don’t even have kids, just those 2 dogs, and I miss them like crazy and I can’t image how much I would miss my own kids if I had any. Anything that doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. At this point, I just want to get through with this week and see my husband again.
Where to even begin? First, I’m going to apologize for not having any pictures on this post, there is a very good explanation. I threw my phone into the toilet. I have no phone, going the get a new one, which my sister is bringing me tomorrow! Best part is that I am so well covered by my school that the insurance will cover this loss of mine.
I have been busy at work, people are starting to realize that there is a intern who can actually do stuff and not just look pretty. I have been mainly doing some writing and working on spreadsheets, and I must say my listening comprehension skills have improved as well as my writing skills. My vocal skills could be better though. Somehow, I feel I have taken a step back because it seems it’s even more difficult to talk to people than it was in the beginning. I’m hoping this is just some phase, because I’m thinking in English and I have started to dream where I speak half Finnish and half English. For example, I saw a dream where I was showing Finland to Robbie Williams and I was speaking Finnish to him when, suddenly, I realized he might not understand me, so I switched it to English. I think my brain is starting to process this.
The weather was hot in here this last weekend and I mean really hot. This Monday was a bank holiday, because in here people celebrate May Day as well, but to them it’s Early May Bank Holiday and in Finland we celebrate it on May first, whatever that day might be, but in here it’s the first Monday of May and this year it fell on the 6th of May. So, people had a long weekend in this very beautiful weather, and apparently it was the hottest day over the Early May Bank Holiday weekend since the holiday was introduced in 1978. The highest temperature was 28.7 Celsius. The traffic was awful because everybody wanted to go to beaches etc. Even I wanted to go to the beach but the bus which went to the beach was over 45 minutes late, so I decided it’s not worth the wait. Then I heard from a co-worker that she was on that beach because she lives near it but her friend who went to meet her at the beach waited that bus for 3 hours! She said the beach was packed, people just kept coming and coming.
Unfortunately, after the Bank Holiday the temperature is going down which is sad because my sister is coming tomorrow. We are going to have fun anyway, we have planned to go to Brighton and do some shopping, we also wanted to go to this castle and maybe see some Eurovision song contest if some good pub might be showing it. I have a very good weekend ahead and I can’t wait to tell you all about it and next time I will hopefully have some pictures to show as well!
My time here has been wonderful and painful at the same time. I love going to work, it gives me something to do on weekdays. I also started to train for a 10K run this fall, but last weekend was my first weekend after the high of my arrival and I felt sad. Now things are normal, everyday life stuff which is okay, but my normal life includes my husband and my dogs. I was miserable last weekend, I did some shopping, had my nails done, went out to eat alone, which sucks. It’s no fun when you’re all by yourself. I know that this is a new thing for me, since I’ve been together with my man for 17 years, I have somehow forgotten to how to be alone. I’m sure I’ll manage though, and I know things will get better as the time goes by.
What’s been happening at work? Well I have been attending a corporate induction, where they tell the new staff members of all their values, health and safety issues and all the stuff you should know as a new employee. I got the chance to participate in that and it was interesting, and I quite enjoyed it. We got to do some group tasks and people asked me how many years I have lived in UK, and I just laughed and said well I’ve lived here for a week and they just can’t believe it. Then I would explain that I’ve started to learn English when I was 9 years old, and then they are stunned by that, and I have to say that I’m thankful for Finnish education system. Oh, and I knew this beforehand but got the chance to witness myself that the Brits really are punctual. They gave us a schedule of the days agenda and it was spot on, I was really impressed by it.
I have my own desk now, I have my logins and my ID badge, and people are giving me tasks to do and I feel good that I understand the tasks given me and I feel that I can work as a part of the group. I still don’t know everybody at the office but those of who I have met and talked to and whose names I almost remember seems lovely and just as weird as me. I have a good feeling about this place and I finally feel like I’m fitting in.
Weather hasn’t been as good as it was the weekend I got here, and it has been raining. It’s funny how it looks grey when it rains even though the trees are green, and the cherry trees has their blossoms, but it’s like you can’t see the colors when it rains. In Finland in the summertime when it rains, it still looks green and bright, so this is just something I have realized while being here.
I must mention this one thing that’s been an annoyance really and that’s the traffic. We all know that the Brits drive at the wrong side of the road and I am aware of this just because I have visited London few times. In London it’s written on the road beside the sidewalks which way to look; look right, look left. It doesn’t say that in here though! So, there I am crossing a street and turning my head like an owl and I swear if I survive without a car hitting me I consider this work placement as successful!
Oh, my what a week I’ve had. When I went to bed on Sunday evening I was pretty sure that I would toss and turn because that’s what I normally do if something new and exciting is happening the next day but no, as soon as I put my head on the pillow I was out. It must have something to do with the fact that I’ve been talking English and listening English that exhausted my brain, so that I literally had no energy to worry about the next day. I started Monday morning at 9 am at Chichester College and I was due to wait at the reception and because this is me, a person who is on time pretty much all the time. I was there sitting and waiting at 8.30 am. I must have looked lost, confused and nervous because the ladies at the reception asked me if I was alright. So then they called to see if somebody could come and collect me, meanwhile they took my picture and gave me a visitors card, I even showed them my ID so that they would get my name right on the card, but it ended up reading; Netta Anniina 😀 Anyway, so finally somebody came and picked me and we went to straight to HR (human resources) to see if I could get I proper staff badge but unfortunately they didn’t have all the information to do that.
I was taken to the Business and Management department where I would be working for the next 8 weeks. I was introduced to this lovely woman who would be my “tutor” and she took me through the office explaining what they did and who everybody was and it all was so much that I couldn’t remember the half of it. The office was real British, full carpeting and fire proof doors everywhere and instant coffee. 😊 I must say that I was overwhelmed of all the information I was getting, but I was still very excited. Before I realized the time had gone by so fast that it was lunch time, which in here starts 12.30 am. I was told that they really don’t serve healthy food, so I had packed my own lunch, but I still went to the cafeteria with everyone else because apparently that’s where people eat. I could have bought salad, or a sandwich and a bag of crisps which seemed to be very popular here or I could have bought something from Subway. Yes, they have Subway, at school. I know it’s unfair, the aroma of it every morning is almost intoxicating. In the cafeteria there was also a Costa, where you can get coffee and then the real diner which servers different kinds of food. I haven’t even checked out what they serve, but I saw that you could get at least pizza and Mexican food.
The first day was very overwhelming and I don’t even remember much of it, I was just so tired, my brain was so tired that when I got back home I just sat down and stared into nothing like a half an hour. I was so tired that I just had something to eat and went to bed and fell asleep immediately.
I haven’t yet gotten my login, so that I would get a computer and really start doing my job, but I was told that I would get it on Friday. I don’t mind thought, I like an easy/slow start and it takes time for me to get the hang of it. I have been doing some archiving, and getting the mail, laminating, photocopying and scanning and answering phone calls and all sorts of things. I’m sure that I will enjoy working there.
Besides being super tired (I’m so hoping it’ll pass because it’s rather annoying) I literally haven’t done anything interesting. Well I did go to gym with Kim Wednesday morning before work (I know, I wasn’t clearly thinking!!) and then running today, I’m really liking it here and I could see myself living here, all I would need would be my husband and my dogs.
Tomorrows Friday and I’m so thrilled! I cannot wait to let my brain take a time out. I’m just going to explore the city, get to know the buses and find a nail salon to do my nails and I might pop into a pub. Oh, and I learned a new word. Pigeonhole! It means those letter boxes that some offices have, when I first heard people saying to me; could you pop that into my pigeonhole, I was like what, where, whose hole?? Anyway, now you know it too!
Have a nice weekend everybody and see you next week!
The goodbyes were awful and horrible and got me regretting this whole thing, but once I got into that bus inJyväskylä I was ok. Then at the Helsinki-Vantaa I was fine and finally at Gatwick I was doing great! I had booked a bus ticket from Gatwick to Chichester and just the bus ride confirmed my opinion that I did the right thing coming here. The scenery was beautiful and just the greenness of it all made me into a better mood since back at home it was plain gray. Here the weather was warm and lovely and apparently very unusual for this time of year.
At the Chichester bus station a lovely lady name Kim was picking me up, and I would be staying with her for the next 8 weeks. She is very nice, and I love her home. It’s a little white cottage and I love my room and my comfy bed, and it feels good to be here. Pretty much right away Kim took me to Tesco to get some food and my tired brain couldn’t really think straight so I just got something and decided to come back later. Back at the cottage I unpacked and took a little nap. After the nap I did a little stroll around the neighborhood and it was so lovely and beautiful. When I got back Kim suggested to go for a walk to this nearby pub and I was happy to go, and the walk was amazing, just so beautiful everywhere. The little walk turned out to be over 2 km long and finally when we got to this pub and ordered our drinks it started to rain! The rain didn’t stop and we had to walk back. We walked through the fields which at this point were all muddy! So, we got completely soaked. When we finally got back to the cottage Merve was there with her parents.
I forgot to mention that Kim had another student living with her, a girl called Merve and she is from Turkey and her parents were visiting her. So, we get back at the cottage soakin wet, and I must have made a good first impression! After we had gotten ourselves dried up we enjoyed a nice evening with Merve and her lovely parents who didn’t speak English at all, so Merve had to do some translating and she did a good job. We tried some Finnish candy and they all seemed to enjoy the Fazer chocolate. I didn’t bring any too strong licorice, just Hopea toffee and Sirkus Aakkoset and they liked those too.
Next day was Sunday and I wanted to walk to the school where I would be working so I turmed on Google Maps and was on my way. I did make a couple of wrong turns ( I blame Google) but I managed to find it, from the school I walked to the city center and got my bearings. I didn’t really stop to go and see anything specific but just walked around so that I would know where to go.
This evening was a last one with Merve’s parents and we had a nice time. Merves mother gave me a souvenir from Turkey and I gave them Fazer chocolate. They were so thrilled to have met me and I was happy too. I didn’t think that I would get to know another culture besides England, so I consider myself very fortunate to have met them. I even got an invite to go and see them there and knowing myself I might just take up on that.
I have no idea how I got here. I’m 35 years old and as long as I remember I have hated school. Somehow, here I am educating myself in Gradia Jämsä and hope to graduate next spring with a vocational qualification in business and administration. When I started this school, I was thrilled to have learned that they have exchange programs for adult students as well. I applied immediately.
Now here I am getting ready to leave at Saturday 2 in the morning to catch a bus to Helsinki-Vantaa airport. First, I do have to say goodbye to my loving husband and 2 corgis, I only wish I could take them with me, but this is something I’ve got to do by myself. I’m going there to enrich my studies in office services in Chichester College, Business Department in United Kingdom and in a nutshell, I would be doing office work (document management, electronic and written communication, telephone services, creating, maintaining and editing registries, statistics and reports etc.). I’m excited and terrified at the same time, because this type of work is something I know I can do, but can I really do it in a different language? I know I can communicate in English rather well and hold conversations about everyday life, but I have no idea about the vocabulary in the office, (hardly even in Finnish)! So, I ordered this book; “Business First” and I was hoping to get it before I go, so that I could read it on the way there, but it hasn’t arrived yet! Now my dear hubby must send it to me. But hopefully people there will understand and hopefully I’ll learn quick, at least that’s what I keep telling myself. So yes, it’s safe to say I’m scared, but I saw this episode in Grey’s Anatomy where they talked about this scientific study which showed that if you stand in the superhero pose for 5 minutes before a job interview, presentation or difficulty task, you will not only feel more confident, but you will perform measurably better. Don’t know how much that is accurate but that’s something I’m going to do to achieve this thing.
Now I do have some expectations towards the Brits, I love them. I have visited before, mainly in London so I’m glad that I got this chance to go somewhere else. Chichester is in Southern England and not too far from the coastline, I can’t wait to explore the city and its nearby towns as well. I have already done some exploring on the Internet and I know I want to go and see this Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve and as soon as I go there, I will blog about it. It looks amazing in the pictures, so I do have some high hopes.
I chose to stay in homestay during my 8-week internship instead of staying in a dorm because, first there is a good chance that the host family has a pet (I actually requested a home with animals) and second, I think this way I get to see closer the different culture and speak English even more.
I’m going to write this blog once a week and let you know how things are, hopefully you will come and read it and get to be a part of this journey with me.
Now, I got to go and do that pose. 😉